An independent group of telecommunications professionals has warned that London’s broadband infrastructure is so poor it threatens the capital’s ability to compete with other global cities in the future.
The warning comes as a new poll by YouGov reveals that a sixth of Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speed (equating to 1.01 million adults in the capital) and that only two thirds rate their broadband service as good. When asked about the capital’s capacity to meet future demands, a third overall and just a quarter of those aged 18 to 24 believe the capital is ready to meet future broadband needs, with more than one in six (17 per cent) rate the capital’s chances of meeting future broadband needs badly.
The Foundation for Information Society Policy (FISP) said the poll demonstrated that the market had failed businesses and consumers when it came to providing the infrastructure needed to provide high-speed, future-proofed broadband services, which are already up and running in dozens of cities around the world.
A Gigabit City would allow all homes and businesses download and upload speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. This would be a first step towards the Institute of Directors’ call for 10 Gigabit services by 2030 and is essential for future 5G mobile plans.
David Brunnen, FISP member and an independent telecoms infrastructure expert, said: “Demand for broadband capacity in London is growing rapidly, but the capital’s broadband, based largely on old networks of copper wires, has a limited future. This dangerous situation will diminish economic and societal growth in the future, unless London’s incoming mayor is able and willing to take drastic action.
“Slow broadband has a particularly negative impact on those who are trying to work flexibly from home, and on small businesses and start-ups based in people’s homes and reliant on speedy internet to run successful operations.
“Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are already unhappy with their broadband – and unless quick action is taken to support growth and encourage investment, there will be serious repercussions in the near future.”